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Parenting and Policing Problems Behind the Zodiac Lounge Conviction


By Dave Oedel

After a carefully, professionally conducted week-long trial in Bibb County Superior Court by both prosecution and defense counsel, Andre Maurice Bonner, whose mug shot accompanies this article, was convicted on May 1, 2015 of murder and gang-related charges in the death of Jamonni Bland, 17. Bland suffered four gunshots to the back, chest and knee during the wee hours of July 5, 2013, and died on the cement floor of the underground parking deck adjacent to the Zodiac Lounge, now Icon, near the corner of Walnut and Broadway in downtown Macon.

Parking garage where Jamonni Bland was shot dead on July 5, 2013 at 3:30 a.m. in Macon, Georgia .  Entrance to the nightclub is on the right, around the corner from the "Open" sign.

Parking garage where Jamonni Bland was shot dead on July 5, 2013 at 3:30 a.m. in Macon, Georgia . Entrance to the nightclub is on the right, around the corner from the “Open” sign.

Based on normal legal standards, Bonner’s basic murder conviction should be unshakeable on appeal, and appeal on that basic conviction is therefore doubtful. Sentencing is scheduled for Wednesday, May 6, by Bibb Superior Court Judge Howard Simms.  Gang-related enhancements, more legally questionable, were also found by the jury.

It was toward the end of a long night of July 4th revelry around Macon that things began to get dicey … Continue Reading

“Sheriff David Davis, First Witness for the Defense” – How the Sheriff’s Department and District Attorney’s Office’s Miscommunications Can Benefit the Alleged Tobesofkee Shooter


By David Dorer

On April 23, 2015, Basil Ghali, 24, of Macon Georgia turned himself in to the Bibb County sheriff’s office on a charge of reckless conduct with a gun – a misdemeanor charge stemming from a more-than month-old March 21st shooting on Lake Tobesofkee. When Ghali turned himself in, Bibb Sheriff David Davis made an announcement to the public. That announcement undermined the felony aggravated assault charge levied by District Attorney David Cooke against Ghali the next day.

The incident has garnered a good bit of local criticism lobbed at Sheriff Davis’ deputies, who allegedly confronted Ghali’s father, were denied consent to search or voluntary communication absent the presence of an attorney, and then failed to properly follow up and obtain the proper warrants. The case went seemingly uninvestigated for weeks, while the victims continually spoke out to the media demanding that justice be served.

I don’t in any way fault Ghali for exercising his constitutional right … Continue Reading

Remaking Romain Dallemand: Villain or Victim?


By Dave Oedel

One of the most riveting Middle Georgia news stories of 2015 has been former Bibb Schools Superintendent Romain Dallemand’s attempt to recast his role in the Bibb schools financial scandal. After Dallemand’s severance from employment with Bibb County’s Board of Education in 2013, Dallemand apparently disappeared to Haiti as if he were on the lam, avoiding legal service and requests for comment about his conduct when he worked for Bibb County’s Board of Education. Now in 2015, though, Dallemand has surprised some by … Continue Reading

Connecting Macon-Bibb’s Murderous Dots: The Unspoken Data About Our Gun Killings


By Dave Oedel

Now into the fourth month of 2015, the pace of killings by gunshot in Macon-Bibb is proceeding at the usual clip of about one per month. Ulysses Pitts was shot dead on January 7. Andrew Darrell Brown was shot dead on March 26. In a separate incident also on March 26, Tavaris (also known as Tavarous) Veal was shot dead.  Marquis Reginal Lowe was shot dead March 28.

Michael Knighton was murdered in East Macon on or about March 8, but with a knife to the throat rather than a gun.

Pitts’ alleged murderers are Antwan Denard Johnson, 25, and Sherod Ranardo Holston, both with prior records. Drevon Lashuwn McLaurin, 20, shot Brown, though perhaps in self defense. Steven Quintrell Howard, 28, was arrested for gang activity in connection with Veal’s death. Jaqavius Javon Holloway, 21, and Malik Tajhae Young, 19, were arrested in the Lowe killing.  Holloway’s mug shot is featured with this post.  Mary Brewer, the lone woman mentioned in this article, is sought in the Knighton cut-throat murder.

As to the three March deaths by shooting, the Telegraph reported that Bibb County Coroner Leon Jones “said he didn’t know of anything connecting the cases, other than the victims had been shot.”

The Telegraph in a separate story also indicated that “there might not be much connecting the [two March 26 shootings] than the day of death.”

But is there a way to connect the dots surrounding Macon’s gunshot killings this year to see a broader pattern? … Continue Reading

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